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Home » Bob Bly on How to Practice Copywriting

Bob Bly on How to Practice Copywriting

You may be familiar with the term “copywriter” if you’re working in marketing or advertising. A copywriter is someone who takes a brief or script and turns it into a piece of compelling writing that can then be used to promote a product or service.

While it’s an important job, it’s not the only one. A copywriter is also responsible for things like web content, social media posts, and product descriptions. So it requires a bit of a jack-of-all-trades skill set.

What would you say is your specialty?

Let’s say you’re really good at copywriting and persuasive pitching, and the marketing department decides they want to repurpose some of your work for use on their websites. Maybe you’ve written a few ebooks on marketing trends. Or, you might have a specific skill that could be useful in generating content for a digital marketer. Maybe you’re the best at coming up with witty and pithy headlines for SEO purposes. Or, you might just be really good at coming up with the perfect metaphors and similes.

Regardless of what makes you special, you should have an idea of how to go about practicing your craft. Otherwise, you could end up just like the infamous E.L. Doctorow, who said, “I write, and whatever I write turns out good. I don’t know why.”

While it would be wonderful if the process were that easy, it usually takes a bit of an outside eye to notice your talent and help you hone your skills. That’s where this article comes in. 

Get A Sample Script To Get Started.

The first step to becoming a better writer is to get a sample script. A sample script is simply a short story that’s written in the same style as your work but is available for you to read and critique. When it comes to copywriting, nothing boosts your confidence more than being able to read and comment on your own work. So don’t be afraid to sample some of your own work. If you’re not comfortable sharing your full manuscript with your potential editor, then sample chapters are a great alternative.

Find An Editor.

Once you’ve got a sample script, it’s time to find an editor. An editor is someone who helps you polish your work and turn your story into something that’s ready to be published. More importantly, they’ll be able to give you feedback on your story and help you develop a stronger voice. Once you’ve got some experience under your belt, you can begin to build a working relationship with your editor and find out how they can help you further your career.

When it comes to finding an editor, there are plenty of platforms you can turn to. Online freelancing sites like Upwork,, or OneOpinion are just a few of the places you can find your ideal editor. Just make sure you go through their profiles carefully and read their reviews before you make a decision. You don’t want to work with someone who has bad reviews, especially if you’re looking to build a long-term relationship. 

Get Some Feedback.

Once you’ve found an editor and begun working with them, it’s time to get some feedback. This is simply a script that you’ve worked on in the past and would like some outside opinions on. It could be something as simple as “the story starts a little slow, but then really picks up.” Or, it could be a complex issue that you’re not quite sure how to fix. Whatever it is, getting some feedback on your work is an important part of the process. The better the feedback, the better your manuscript will be when you’re finished. So be sure to take all of their comments into consideration.

There are plenty of places you can find feedback on your work. Just type “[your script’s name] reviews” into Google, and you’ll be presented with all of the different places your work has been published. Beyond that, you can also look for publishers who are interested in your specific niche, or who have an editorial director who is a fan of your work.

Revise, Revise, Revise.

Once you’ve got some feedback, it’s time to revise. Based on what you’ve learned, you can begin to make some specific changes to your script. Sometimes this means reworking a scene or adding new scenes. Sometimes it means cutting entire sections. Sometimes it means adjusting the ending. In some instances, it can mean rewriting the whole thing. But in general, it means taking what you’ve got and adjusting it until you’ve got something that’s near perfect.

After you’ve made some significant revisions, it’s once again time to get feedback. This time, you’re going to want someone who is completely unaffiliated with you, neither of you have ever worked together, and who has been a professional editor for many years. While it would be great to work with someone who has extensive experience in your specific field, in most cases it’s preferable to work with a more general editor who has vast knowledge across a variety of different platforms.

Once you’ve found this unaffiliated expert, it’s time to send your rough draft to them. This is the part where you want to make sure you’ve got everything you need. Even if your editor offers to give you some suggestions on how to improve your story, you should still send it in its final, polished form. Once they’ve had a chance to read it, they’ll be able to give you some feedback that will help you improve your work. For bigger projects, that can take some time to digest. But don’t worry, you’re not going to have to wait long to find out how they feel about your work.

Even after all of this work, there may still be some issues with your script. In most cases, this is where the real fun begins. But first, you have to be able to recognize when these issues arise. If you’ve worked with an experienced editor, then you should have a good idea of where to look for these problems. But if this is your first time, then it can be a little harder to pinpoint where the issues are.

Where Do I Go From Here?

Once you’ve got everything you need, where do you go from here? The answer to this question really depends on you. You may decide that you want to continue pursuing editorial work, and in most cases this will be the best option for you. But if you’ve decided that you want to become a screenwriter instead, then you can begin to develop your own story outlines and pitches. If this is your goal, then you should begin honing your craft by writing short scripts for friends and family. Simply type “[your script’s name] script” into Google, and you’ll be presented with all of the different places your work has been published. Beyond that, you can also look for publishers who are interested in your specific niche, or who have an editorial director who is a fan of your work.

From here on out, it’s all about building a portfolio. Just make sure you continue doing what you’re doing and continue learning. Even after all of this, there may still be some issues with your script. But at this point, it’s far better to find out now, while you’re still working on it, than to discover these problems after you’ve turned in your final copy.